Audi S3 Saloon

Vorsprung TFSI S

tronic quattro

Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, front
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, nose
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, front
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, side
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, rear
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, rear seats
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, interior
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, tail
Audi S3 Saloon, 2022, boot

WITH so much emphasis on hatchbacks, SUVs and practical cars these days it's always nice when a saloon comes along with striking design cues and performance to match.

And that's just the case with the Audi S3 saloon with its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 310PS and a whopping 400Nm of torque. And those figures translate into performance stats that are certainly not for the faint-hearted.

The S3, costing £54,945, can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 4.8 seconds and tops out at a limited 155mph. On the downside, the fuel efficiency is not quite so impressive at a combined 35.3mpg - and to see anywhere close to that figure, the car would need to be driven with a degree of respect.

One glance in the S3's direction and you simply know that's never going to happen. That's because the S3 is a four-door saloon with real attitude. It features Audi's superb Matrix LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, a black styling pack, body-coloured rear spoiler, privacy glass, a panoramic sunroof and 19-inch titanium grey alloy wheels.

Our car was suppled in a dazzling Python yellow colour which was possibly noticeable from the moon. It was certainly easy to spot in any busy car park as it stands out so much.

Despite its dynamic performance figures, the Audi S3 is exceptionally refined to drive. Yes, it can be noisy and quite brutish if you fizz through the drive modes to Dynamic, but in more standard Comfort and Auto modes, this is a car that cruises at 70mph on motorways and boasts an outstanding suspension set-up that smooths out most bumps and dips along the way.

The nicely weighted steering offers good levels of feedback and there are steering wheel mounted paddles to change gears manually for added driver engagement.

The S3 is perfectly balanced on the faster country lanes and well-grounded into tighter bends with no sign of body sway no matter how enthusiastically its driven. And this is a car that encourages more aggressive driving with its sharp acceleration and raspy exhaust and engine note as the perfect accompaniment.

Comfort levels are great up front with plenty of space to stretch out, but back seat passengers will find it all a little cramped, especially if the front seats are pushed well back.

The S3 is packed with tech and creature comforts from heated quilted leather sports seats that are power-operated with memory settings. There is neat piano black trimmings and a rocker-style switch for the gear lever. S badging on the door sills and steering wheel are a not-so-subtle reminder that this Audi is a little bit special.

The car is generously equipped with the likes of a Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi smartphone interface, a DAB radio, full navigation with a 10.1-inch high-resolution touchscreen, Audi's virtual cockpit with a fully programmable driver display screen and plenty more besides.

A head-up display is really practical so you can keep a watchful eye on your speed and there is a wealth of safety kit to help protect occupants and other road users alike.

These include a lane keeping system with lane change assist, collision avoidance, pre-sense front, adaptive cruise control, a driver assistance pack, park assist, quattro all-wheel drive and plenty more besides.

The boot can swallow 325 litres of kit and there are plenty of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including a locking glovebox, charging pad, cubby box beneath the centre armrest, front and rear cup holders, door bins with a bottle holder, plus seat back nets.

FAST FACTS

Audi S3 Saloon Vorsprung TFSI S tronic quattro

Price:£45,945

Mechanical: 310ps, 1984cc, 4-cylinder, petrol-driven engine with 7-speed S tronic automatic transmission

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 4.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 35.3

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 181g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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